We admit it: Barcelona isn't Granada or Madrid. We don't know why, but the pleasing custom of getting a free tapa when you order a beer just isn't Barcelona's style, to the point that some places plop down an insignificant plate of seeds or extra-salty nuts in front of you and call that a tapa. But you can still find some bars in the city that swim against the current, places where with every beer you get to try a different treat because you're that special to them – or maybe because they want you to stay and buy another drink. Fill your belly while enjoying a beer or two in Barcelona's most generous bars.
SEE ALSO: 9 BARCELONA BARS WITH FREE TAPAS
A Catalan and a Granadan have brought Ambiente del Sur to Barcelona, and it's one of the first bars to offer free, quality tapas with their beers. Just like in Andalusia, each glass of draught beer (€1.80) you order is served with a different home-made tapa, and they're generous in size. Some of the tapas – like Luis's delicious Spanish omelette – will leave you wanting to order another beer just to find out what the next tapa will be. Very friendly service, and always full of a young crowd, this place is a must for free tapas in Barcelona.
The Moritz beer on tap at Gata Mala has an Honoris Causa doctorate. It's worth checking out this sardine can of a bar just to try their Catalan hops and barley, but it also helps that with each beer you order, they'll give you a free tapa. And we're not talking about a bag of crisps or a slice or two of dried 'fuet' (salami). You can fill your boots on their small plates that are truly delicious. You'll have to use your elbows to fight for a corner of the bar, but what a bar it is: from its inner depths, delicious tapas stream out non-stop for the after-work drinking crowd. While waiting for your little piece of heaven and enjoying your beer, you can pass the time looking at the photos and alluring paintings that adorn the walls.
This bar has got something no other has even come close to: it has managed to strike a perfect balance between a retro soul and a futuristic spirit. The combination works because instead of trying to reach the masses and becoming a cliché of the cool scene, it focuses on small details that leave a pleasant aftertaste. One of these is the free tapas that come with the drinks. In the evening and at night, they'll give you different tapas to sample with your beverage, such as a calamari-in-its-ink croquette that will make your mouth water just looking at it.
This family-run Galician bar is one of the best-kept treasures of the Sants neighbourhood. In addition to their more than competent set menu, they'll serve you a quality pintxo with each draught beer you order. The austere and simple decor doesn't do much to boast about the good and fresh products they serve, and David, a waiter, will treat you like one of the family. Don't leave without trying the pork shoulder and the Galician-style octopus.
Frenchman Daniel Brin has opened his own bistro where the Punx restaurant used to be. Born in Perpignan but living in Barcelona for seven years, Brin wanted to open a place to enjoy good French cuisine at an affordable price. The homemade paté, the quiche and the 'cocotte' are well worth mentioning, as are the meat dishes, which melt in the mouth. With each draught beer (€1.50) you order they'll give you different tapas, ranging from a simple slice of toast topped with ham or cheese, to signature tapas like the anchovy pâté.
La Xula Taperia presents us with high-spirited offering Madrid's renowned for in the shape of a draught beer and a tapa – that's a free bite with each drink – and mixes it with creative cuisine. Their beers are poured to perfection, and their small and casual tapas are well-suited to their creative style. Examples include the tuna tataki and mustard tart, and the 'pringa' burrito made with Andalusian grilled beef, spinach and cheese.
The king of Le Cucine Mandarosso is Pietro Leonetti, your bearded, earringed, bespectacled host who decided to open an Italian restaurant with Anna, a friend from university. Like any good young entrepreneur with a restless spirit, Leonetti refused to conform to the typical Italian restaurant with pizza, pasta and checkered tablecloths. So his is a restaurant that serves something different every day. Sunday nights you can get a delicious Italian appetiser, free with a drink.